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Märstetten-Dorf, Switzerland

Forests with increasing standing volumes help to mitigate the impacts of climate change as they act as a carbon sink. Forest enterprises in Switzerland can generate value from the carbon sink service by selling corresponding CO2 certificates on the voluntary market. Up to now, few forest enterprises have taken advantage of this option. Possible reasons for this are presented in this article. The legal and political rules that may influence decisions by forest enterprises are examined with the help of the institutional resource regimes model. The findings are complemented and evaluated using expert interviews in forest enterprises and with political decision-makers. Many factors influence the valorisation of the carbon sink function of the forest. It is hindered, on the one hand, by the fact that use of the sink function competes with other functions of the forests, for instance the production of timber, and, on the other, by widespread scepticism and ignorance as well as high transaction costs. However, it is promoted by low standing volumes, good planning systems and by the existence of nature conservation reserves. To increase valorisation of the carbon sink function of the forest, it is recommended to 1) clarify the trade-offs and synergies between the functions, 2) develop rules (standards) for the voluntary carbon market in Switzerland and 3) make more information available to forest enterprises, so that they can better weigh up the risks and benefits of marketing the carbon sink value of the forest.

Remund J.,Meteotest CH | Augustin S.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2015

Climate scenarios for the 21st century for Switzerland show increasing temperatures and more frequent weather extremes and the risk of drought will become more important. The objective of the study was the calculation of indicators which allow the estimation and evaluation of drought risks on a regional scale. The site water balance and the ratio between actual and potential evapotranspiration (ETa/ETp) were used as indicators. They are closely related to vitality parameters of trees. For projections in the future were used the A1B climate scenario, which assumes a warming of 2.7 to 4.1°C in Switzerland, and three regional climate models (CLM, RCA, REGCM3), which predict different developments regarding precipitation and temperature. Historical time series between 1951 and 2012 and scenarios up to 2100 for different climatic regions were calculated. The indicators reproduce well the measured trends and the regional differences. In all regions there was in the past a trend to increased drought. The Geneva/ Vaud region as well as the western midlands and north Switzerland show the most pronounced changes. Projections with the CLM model (which reproduced best the historic trend 1981-2010 for Switzerland) show increasing drought and, in general, an increasing variability of the climate for the mid-century.

Durr C.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

The ministers of the 46 member countries of Forest Europe, as the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE) is now called, will decide at the conference in Oslo in June 2011 whether they would like to convert the existing process into a legally binding forest agreement. Switzerland fundamentally supports the establishment of such an agreement and has participated in the corresponding clarification processes. This contribution presents the developments made up to now, and explains the advantages such an agreement would have for Switzerland and the obstacles that remain to be overcome.

Durr C.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

International forest policy is mainly shaped by the participation of countries at global level, which is why forestrelated organisations in Europe and their political processes have received little attention up to now. Meanwhile, however, global forest policy is being increasingly influenced by regional processes. Efforts are underway in the context of various European processes to put sustainable forest management on a firmer footing and make it better known outside the sector. Hence the safeguarding of national interests in the European context is becoming more important for Switzerland. This contribution presents the main forest policy organisations in Europe from Switzerland's perspective, i.e. Forest Europe, the FAO European Forestry Commission, the UNECE Timber Committee, the European Union and the European Forest Institute, so as to provide a better understanding of where European forest policy originates.

Blaser J.,Intercooperation | Kuchli C.,Bundesamt fur Umwelt CH
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2011

Around one third of the earth's surface is under forest cover which is distributed more or less equally between industrialised and developing countries. Whereas forest areas in the temperate and boreal climate zones are more or less stable or on the increase, the scale of deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics remains dramatic. This situation is likely to continue in the decades to come because the world's ever-growing population needs new agricultural land and the pressure on resources (forest products, land, water, minerals) continues to increase as a result of globalisation and global change. Moreover, sustainable forest management has not yet become standard practice in many southern countries because forest management can rarely compete with other forms of land use in terms of economic returns. The protection and sustainable management of forest resources is basically the responsibility of each individual country and cannot be regulated and financed globally. However, enormous financial resources, i.e. on a scale of tens of billions of Swiss francs per year, are required for the introduction of comprehensive land-use planning in developing countries incorporating suitable protection of natural forests and sustainable forest management. New approaches for the valorisation of services provided by forests such as carbon sinks (e.g. REDD+) offer significant potential for improving forest protection and sustainable forest management. It augurs well that the economic internalisation of the forest and its services is in full swing at global level and that, based on the REDD+ resolutions passed at the last climate conference in Cancún, many countries have opted for the path of forest conservation and sustainable forest management.

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